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Nov 11, 2007 11:24 AM

Any suggestions for enjoying these specialty items?

I went on one of my "impromptu gourmet shopping sprees" yesterday, and am pretty excited about my new purchases. There are a few, though, that I can't seem to decide on how to use... I would love to get some feedback from the CH community. Who wants to play?

1. Rare Hawaiian's "Organic White Honey". This is a white, thick, pure raw honey from the Big Island of Hawaii that is hand-picked from Kiawe trees, unheated, and unfiltered. An 8 oz. jar costs $22.00, so I won't be making honey butter with it, or melting it in my flavored tea! I'll definitely be trying it with cheese, but what to do with 8 oz?

2. Agrimontana's "Amarene Candite in Composta". These are dark, sour cherries from Italy that are preserved in a sugar syrup. I must admit, part of what attracted me to these was the large, reusable, resealable preserving jar that they come in. These are pricy, too, so I would not want to use all of them as a topping for Greek Yogurt (though I can't wait to try that particular combo).

3. Mymoune's "Rose Syrup". This is a 9 oz. pretty glass bottle of Lebanese syrup made with rose petals, sugar and fresh lemon juice. I'm thinking of cocktails... but does anyone have a nice cake recipe for it, perhaps?

4. Austria's Finest Pumpkin Seeds. They are the largest, greenest, most appetizing-looking pumpkin seeds I've ever seen, and I know I'll use them as a garnish for the pumpkin/cream cheese frosting cupcakes I'll be making this week. But I have nearly a cup of them. Any thoughts?

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  1. OK
    1) definately with the cheese. This is the only reason why I buy speciality honey. Perhaps I am weird but the nice honey, drizzled over dark salad greens, which are garnished with nuts, some dried cranberries, pomm seeds etc is just perfect for me. And I also like a fine tamari, sprinkled to stand out/sweet/savory.

    I would savor this and not worry about how fast I have to use it up.

    2) I am not a sweets person. I can only imagine. But a shell of puffed pastry, blind baked then painted with a great dark chocolate, with a small amount of a flan then a spoon of these cherries, would make me not pass on dessert.

    4) I'd treat me. As in I would keep some of these with me at work, and savor a few for a snack. Just because something is "gourmet" does not mean, to me, that I cannot savor them simply and delight in them wholly myself.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Quine

      Good attitude, Quine.

      They aren't "wasted" if you enjoy them. And don't forget, honey lasts forever -- if it crystalizes, you can always reliquify it by putting the jar in a water bath, so you can use it gradually as occasions arise. If you want to use the rose syrup in cake form, I'd take something fairly plain, like pound cake, pour some of the syrup over it and let it soak in. Or look for recipes for liqueur cakes and substitute the syrup.

      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        Thanks. I think that's pretty much what I had in mind when I asked for a cake recipe... I wonder how the syrup would be if added to a simple butter cookie recipe?

      2. re: Quine

        Thanks for the great ideas, Quine. I really like the idea of a cherry tarte tatin, or perhaps even cherry-topped ricotta cheesecake. Now I am inspired.

        Oh, and I am definitely into treating myself- that's why I bought these items in the first place :)

      3. For item no. 1, as others have said, you have spent the big bucks for the honey, may as well spend a little (or a lot) more for a better than average cheese tray.

        For item no. 2, here are two recipes that I’ve been looking at for a little Thanksgiving extra away from pumpkin and apple desserts. They should be right in line with what you have.

        7 Replies
        1. re: yayadave

          We make little tarts every Christmas with those cherries - I love them. Where did you find them by the way? I often have to hunt them down. I actually just threw out three jars of them with just the syrup left - kept saving them for "something"!

          1. re: MMRuth

            I haven't actually looked for the sour cherries, yet. From what I have been reading on the boards, I may have to go down to the strip district and look around. It's very tedious because Penn Mac has all that wonderful cheese and the counter lady, "Dear Heart", keeps giving me samples.

            AhHa! I suppose your reply was really directed at vvvindaloo. Sorry.

            1. re: MMRuth

              Dean & Deluca on B'way & Prince. I know I'll be stubbornly holding on to this jar forever, just waiting to find a good use!

              1. re: MMRuth

                I have found them at Costco and at World Market. Jarred, not fresh.

              2. re: yayadave

                sour cherry streusel cake sounds like it was invented for me... thanks yayadave.

                1. re: vvvindaloo

                  Yeah, that was my first thought when I bumpt into it.

              3. For the honey, I would recommend getting some really nice seasonal fruit drizzling the honey on top then put a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds on top.

                What about a nice pumpkin seed pesto?

                You can use the Rose syrup over ice cream.

                The cherries would be good in a beef stew as an accent flavor.

                2 Replies
                1. re: septocaine_queen

                  I haven't yet opened the honey, but it looks like it may be too thick to drizzle! it's more like a dense honey spread. I'm thinking it may even be good on a nice piece of buttered toast...

                  1. re: vvvindaloo

                    That's how I eat good honey. I lightly toast bread (my favorite right now is the sunflower seed bread from Panera), spread on some high quality unsalted butter (e.g., Plugra) which melts into the warm bread, then spread the honey on top. Very simple but so good.

                2. I like to put pumpkin seeds in tossed salads and rice salads (especially with soft goat cheese and avacado) I also make this recipe a lot (chicken in a pumpkin seed sauce)
         It is really good. I also think if you do something like homemade ravioli in which pumpkin is a component, then you might want to remember those pretty seeds and use them in a sauce. or to decorate.

                  As for the honey - You might enjoy exploring Jewish cookbooks for some inspiration. I see honey a lot in them. Also I like honey over cantelope or with apples with gorgonzola and walnuts.Mosty I dip my finger into my honey jar when I want something sweet. I love honey. I know that is unsanitary.

                  Rose water - I put it in my steam iron and in a humidifier every so often. It is also good in pancakes, sponge cakes. For something savory you can try a persian meatball style dish called makhfiya. I do not have the recipe, but it is really good. Perhaps someone on her knows it. I not find it with a quick google. It exists. Maybe I am misspelling it.

                  Sour Cherries:

                  Enjoy your goodies.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Sal Vanilla

                    Thank you! Indeed, I was looking for a nice simple Persian or Middle Eastern dish to use with the rose syrup. I'm sure I'll find it if I do some good digging... but I also fidgured we could have some fun with my list on here, too.

                    1. re: vvvindaloo

                      A book I finished today had rose water ice cream as something some Afghanis were eating as a treat. It sounds ick to me, but it must be good.

                  2. Maybe you could modify a mousse recipe to use the cherries (I think that would be delicious). Then eat on its own, with dark chocolate, or with white cake.

                    Could be good just on plain vanilla ice cream as well.